Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 12/28/12
After a lackluster performance against the Jaguars with many starters out of the mix, how concerned are you that the Patriots may be a little rusty for their opening playoff game? Stephen:  Despite the stinker the Patriots threw up in Jacksonville, I'm not concerned about them being rusty for their opening playoff game. After Tom Brady ripped into the team in the locker room, I expect New England to come out firing on all cylinders in the regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins. Gronk should be back in the lineup, and hopefully Brandon Spikes and Alfonzo Dennard can see some snaps in preparation for the playoffs. Expect a big turnaround next week as the Pats push toward a Super Bowl run. Jason: The Jags game was a bit of a puzzler, but it could have also been a case of the team trying to win ugly without putting anything new and exciting on tape for their playoff opponents. I wouldn't put too much stock in that game. If the team had a first round bye, I might be slightly worried that some rust could come into play. But given the fact that they aren't likely to have an off week in between the regular season and the playoffs to get cold, I don't think that is going to be a major factor. Raj:  Like I mentioned in my recap, I was expecting some things to go wrong against Jacksonville. From my point of view, the lackluster performance happened because of either overconfidence or laziness. I'm not concerned however because I expected it. The Patriots have one more "tune-up" game to really fix any problems they've had all season. That offensive line is one huge problem and I expect the Pats to improve on that field. Whether New England earns the first round bye or has to play a wild card game, they will be ready and they will be  deadly. Plus with the return of the Incredible Gronk, the Pats are at an advantage come playoff time. With all being said, I don't think there's much to stress about and we should be able to see the Patriots football we're used to seeing in the playoffs.
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